PROPOSED changes to rail freight operations in Sydney and Gosford have thrown the issue of the Adamstown gates into focus (“Gatecrashed” Herald 8/12). As annoying as they are, spare a thought for the 134,421 residents of Flagstaff, Arizona, and visitors and tourists to the nearby Grand Canyon.
The Flagstaff train station is on the main freight route between the east, Chicago and Los Angeles. It fronts Highway 89A (also publicised as historic Route 66) and two busy streets at either end of the station lead across the lines into the main shopping centre, known as Historic Flagstaff. The crossings are controlled by traffic lights. Between 80 and 100 freight trains a day pass over those crossings – all stretching over both crossings at the one time – mostly about 15 minutes apart.
I was in Flagstaff in October and twice saw one train pass, immediately after another going in the opposite direction. The trains are not short. On one I counted 123 freight cars.
A road overpass or tunnel would be impossible, as the streets in the CBD are fairly narrow and buildings are right up to the footpaths alongside the highway. The one solace they have is that the freight trains roar through at top speed, compared to the gentle pace of the ones going through Adamstown.
Russell Jones, Warners Bay